The best bike trails in Sacramento: where to cycle in the capital city
Sacramento has something to offer every kind of cyclist: whether you’re commuting to work, going for a fun weekend ride, or doing some serious off-road mountain biking, you can find a great trail to take you around the diverse landscape of Sacramento. When you’re looking for the best biking trails in Sacramento, you don’t have to look far to find one that suits your needs.
With lots of options available to you when you want to hop your bike in California’s capital city, we’ve decided to compile a list of some of the best biking trails in Sacramento to help get you on your way.
We’ll try to cover a variety of trails for all levels and abilities so that no matter what kind of cycling you want to do, you’ll find the best biking trail for you.
Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail
Also known as the American River Parkway or American River Bike Trail, this 32-mile path runs from Old Sacramento all the way to Beals Point and is a favorite of weekend cyclists, walkers, and even horseback riders.
This trail is perfect for beginners and cyclists looking for an easy, scenic weekend ride. With lots of flat terrain and regular water fountains and restrooms available next to the trail, you don’t have to be an expert to have a great day on this trail. There are a number of entry points along the trail, making it an easily accessible route for lots of people in the area. In addition, as you ride, you’ll get stunning views of the local scenery, with plenty of time to look out onto the river.
As a multi-use paved trail, the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail is open to pedestrians, runners, rollerbladers, and horses on this route, so be sure to practice good road etiquette by signalling and communicating with your fellow trailmates. There is a maximum speed limit of 15 miles per hour, but that’s more than fast enough for a leisurely weekend ride.
Nearby Folsom offers a combined 34 miles of biking trails for cyclists within their city, including a number of options around picturesque Folsom Lake. If you’re looking for adventure, there is plenty to be found on the trails closest to the lake. These rugged trails are favored by hikers and advanced mountain bikers, who are rewarded with a vigorous route and beautiful views.
If you’re not so advanced, you can still find many options for cycling around Folsom. Just check out the city’s local bike map to find a trail in your area, many of which can be picked up right in town near businesses and retail locations to take you around the town’s green spaces.
Sacramento Northern Bike Trail
Whether you’re commuting downtown or just want to tour the neighborhoods and outskirts of Sacramento by bike, you will definitely want to check out the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail.
Running along much of a former railroad route, this trail runs from downtown Sacramento through historic neighborhoods, all the way out to agricultural land outside of town, and allows riders to check out (and even ride on) fascinating the old railway architecture that remains on their way.
This roughly 10-mile trail is paved and features a number of shaded rest spots for cyclists to take a break if needed along the way. There are a few inclines along the way, but cyclists of all ability levels will be able to enjoy this trail on their bikes.
For a detailed description of the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail, read the full trail riding instructions on the TrailLink website.
Sacramento to Davis
While not a traditional bike trail in full, many cyclists choose to make the 14-mile jog between Sacramento and Davis part of their regular riding route.
Starting at the Tower Bridge on the east side of the Sacramento River, cyclists can hit the road and combine a bike path with regular city streets as they make their way between the two cities. The route ends at the Davis Amtrak station, after taking riders through both rural areas and lively city streets.
If you prefer a full off-street ride, then this route isn’t for you. However, if you don’t mind sharing some of the roads for part of the ride and you’re curious to check out the beautiful spaces between Sacramento and Davis, don’t miss this one.
Granite Bay Trail
Another one for the mountain bikers: this newer trail features plenty of variety in incline and downhill for cyclists who like to keep it interesting. For the most part, this trail is best for intermediate riders who can handle changing, somewhat rugged terrain of ridges and sandy hills.
However, riders of all levels who are curious about mountain biking can find a good fit on this trail. There are several areas that can be great training ground for new riders that aren’t too rough or with too many elevation changes, so you can find your footing before heading to the more challenging portions.
This 12-mile trail is a multi-use space, which means you may encounter pedestrians along the way. Be sure you are not going too fast and that you make way for pedestrians and other cyclists, so as to avoid an accident.
Find your best biking trail in Sacramento
Next time you’re ready to hop on your bike for a ride around Sacramento’s best trails, why not try one of these favorites out? Sacramento has so many opportunities for people who love cycling — whether for commuting, exercise, or just for fun — so don’t miss out on the best trails this town has to offer.